Careers and performance coach Kate Bishop explains how to navigate the pros and cons of remote working

Careers and performance coach Kate Bishop explains how to navigate the pros and cons of remote working

As the nation switches to remote working patterns, there will be pros and cons for employees and businesses alike which go beyond the obvious technical challenges, says the performance and careers coach, Kate Bishop.

Many of us will admit to having dreamt of being able to stay in PJs while taking conference calls and drawing up reports or wishing for a lie in instead of facing the daily commute, but the issues raised by the presence of coronavirus put a different spin on things, says Bishop.

“It’s not as simple as simply swapping the office for your kitchen table because we’re all well aware why the routine has to be changed. Even those who may have previously liked working at home may find the enforced remote structure causes anxiety and uncertainty.

“Employers who may already be struggling with business continuity issues, grappling with technology to get home workers back online and trying to support parents who’ll have to homeschool from next week will have a lot on their plate. The key is for open lines of communication from both sides with an understanding that neither party has it easy right now.”

Those working from home for the first time may find that they encounter unexpected pros and cons. Staying at home, as per government guidelines, can help to foster a sense of safety, offer more flexibility – especially to those with children who are no longer able to attend school – and provide a better work life balance by eradicating the commute to and from work.

Remote working isn’t always positive for everyone however and it is important that in the days and weeks ahead, workers and bosses keep this in mind. Not everyone thrives in a remote working situation and feelings of isolation, a lack of structure and increased pressure if lines of communication are not open can all negatively impact mental health, job satisfaction, productivity levels and overall wellness.

“When the work environment changes so drastically and the headlines are full of news about businesses struggling, redundancy and the impact this will have on entire teams and companies as well as individuals especially in hospitality, events, retail and sports also becomes an issue. We are in unchartered waters facing a challenge of magnitude that we haven’t seen before. Trying to maintain a sense of structure with daily organisation and team meetings via tools such as Skype and Zoom can bring some sense of routine and mitigate feelings of loneliness.

“For those in stressful roles, such as on the NHS frontline, it’s even more important that lines of communication remain open with colleagues and management.”

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